MANILA, Philippines – Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 2:58 p.m. Sunday and was to join nine other heads of state of member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations at the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits.
Before him, leaders from Cambodia, Myanmar, Lao PDR, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand arrived in that order at the weekend for the Summit, which coincides with the regional bloc’s glittering celebration of its 50th founding anniversary. Host country Philippines and Vietnam, whose prime minister was expected to fly in after Bolkiah, round out the 10-member ASEAN.
The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday announced the names of 20 leaders confirmed to attend the various summits this week in Manila.
DFA Acting Spokesperson Robespierre Bolivar said these leaders would cover trade and investment facilitation, innovation, connectivity and strengthening the ASEAN community as a model of regional integration.
They will also tackle ways to address cybercrime, countering radicalization, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, cooperation against trafficking in persons and the protection and promotion of the rights of migrant workers and persons with disabilities.
President Rodrigo Duterte, who will lead the summits, will issue Chairman’s Statements for the ASEAN Summit, the ASEAN Plus One Summits, the ASEAN Plus Three Summit and the East Asia Summit.
All heads of ASEAN member states are attending, namely: Brunei’s Bolkiah, Laos President Bounnhang Vorachith, Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and President Joko Widodo.
For dialogue partners, these leaders are confirmed to attend: Australian Prime Minister, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Korean President Moon Jae-In, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, India Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and United State President Donald Trump.
For international organizations, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutierres and European Council President Donald Tusk will participate in the summit.
The heads of state and government of the ASEAN members and the regional bloc’s dialogue partners including US President Donald Trump, will be feted at a gala dinner hosted by President Rodrigo Duterte Sunday night, to mark the 50th anniversary of ASEAN.- with a report by Camille Aguinaldo, InterAksyon